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A mysterious glass beads at a point point toward Florida's old meteorite strike


A pair of micro-tectites found within ancient clams shells.
Picture: Kristen Grace, Florida Museum

Scientists have puzzled over the beginning of tiny glass beads found in ancient clams since the 13-year discovery. They say they are micro-tectites – a byproduct of meteorite impacts – which was the first time these celestial remnants had been found hidden in old clams.

Ancient clams shells uncovered at a quarry of Sarasota County in Florida are unexpected repositories of micro-tectites, according to new research published in Meteorology and Planetary Science. The research is still incomplete, but the discovery reveals about a previously unknown meteorite strike (or strikes) off Florida with about 2 and 3 million years ago.

Mike Meyer, chief author of the new study and researcher of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, said Gizmodo, "This is the first report on micro -ectites in Florida and one of the few findings of space debris." Help us date the shell beds in that they have no precise age for them. "

The tiny, spherical glass beads were produced during the explosive impact of meteorite smashing into the ground.

Mayor said, when a major impact had occurred, the imperialist – a meteorite or comet or the like – did not sound like that, but the stones and soil had the impression. "Most racks are composed of minerals, which contain silica, so there is a lot of melting. The melted debris flakes off the impact and cools when traveling through the air, usually giving it some sort of aerodynamic shape.

Four micro-tectites.
Picture: Meyer et al., 2019

Eventually, the materials cool into the atmosphere and rain back on the surface. Large pieces, called tectites, often form turret shapes, and small droplets, called micro-tectites, produce spheres. Mayor explained, Mayor, that the extraterrestrial materiel can get into the chambers. Eventually, the shells are covered in sediment, preserving their contents for protracted times.

The investigation back to 2006, when Meyer was an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida. He and his classmates scoured Florida's finest beds in search of shells made from single-celled organisms known as Benthic Foraminafera. Instead, they found dozens of glass beads inside of fabricated clams, most of them inside fossils. Mercenaria campechiensisAlso known as South Quahogs. These particles are very small, measuring 200 micrometers in diameter. In total, 83 of these mysterious orbs. At that time, no one knew what to make of the transparent orbs, so that the beads ran out at the university for years.

With this time and inclination to inspect the issue, Mayor decided to look at the old beads with fresh eyes. Along with colleagues Roger Portell and Peter Harries, he analyzed the structures with scanning electron microscopy, back-scattered imaging and X-ray spectroscopy, which allowed researchers to determine their composition. In addition, researchers performed comparative analyzes with other micro-tectites, cosmic spherules (also known as micrometeorites) and volcanic rocks.

A micro-tectite seen through a microscope.
Picture: Meyer et al., 2019

"Volcanoes are ruled out – ours seemed to be rounded off – and sentence," Mayor told Gizmodo. “It is the slightest possibility that this could have been [human-produced] Reflective paint or coal ash, but the shapes of our material are also uniform and since we found them in the closed clam fossils that have been closed and cut off from the surrounding environment for millions of years, it seemed unlikely that any kind of human Contamination would have had time to get there, ”he said.

Mayrotectites, Mayor said, remained the only lifelike response. These materials were primarily made of silica and formed from "the debris created by an impact event," he said.

Interestingly, the micro-tectites are found in four different sedimentary depths, suggesting multiple impacts or single-bed bed spreads. When I look ahead, Meyer would like to use these argon-argon radiometric dating to date beads. He would also like to find more Spherules, because his team only has a few dozen work. To this end, the researchers plan to recruit citizen scientists to seek more material in Florida's south-west Florida.

As a final note, the press release refers to the micro-text as "cosmic pearls," which is cute, but not absolutely accurate.

We were told, "This was a catchy name, though I always call them & # 39; the spheres & # 39; because they are spherical," he said, adding that genuine pearls are calcium carbonate and made from Living meals. Like clams or oysters.

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